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March 16, 2007 at 1:47 PM

Mariners 4, Royals 0, top of 4th

Seattle put up a four-spot in the bottom of the third when Ichiro ripped a double that ticked off the first baseman’s glove and into foul territory along the left field line. A hard-running Willie Bloomquist managed to chug all the way home from first base, sliding in just ahead of the throw.
But the big blow came moments later, after a Jose Vidro walk, when Raul Ibanez drove a 1-1 pitch from Brian Bannister over the wall in left center.
Mariners starter Miguel Batista has had a great day so far, recording five of his first six outs on ground balls while getting the other on a strikeout. Batista notched a sixth ground ball out in the third inning, then had a little trouble as the speedy Joey Gathright laid down a bunt single. Gathright then stole second base, but Batitsa fanned Alex Gonzalez to end the inning.
Vidro keeps lifting that on-base percentage, reaching on a walk in the third and a lucky “double” in the first inning that came from left fielder Emil Brown losing the ball in the sun. Richie Sexson drew some more boos in the second inning, which he led off by bouncing out weakly to the pitcher. He then popped out to second base to end the third, leaving him 2-for-27 this spring.
Spoke too quickly about Batista, who went out in the fourth and allowed the first four hitters to reach base. Ross Gload led off with an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop, followed by a base-hit up the middle from Brown. Billy Butler then drove home a pair by lining a double to the wall in left center. Batista followed that by walking John Buck, but then, after a mound conference, got a huge 6-6-3 double-play grounder on Matt Tupman. Angel Berroa grounded out to Batista to end the inning, leaving it 4-2 for Seattle heading into the bottom of the fourth.
A note to the public address announcer at Peoria Stadium: Wake up!
After Batista got the double-play grounder, the announcer went into his between-innings spiel about the merits of a local casino. It only took him about half the announcement to realize the inning was still being played and that Berroa was stepping to the plate. This is the same guy, remember, who a couple of weeks ago went into his post-game wrap-up before realizing the Mariners were still coming to bat in the ninth, down by a run. I know it’s tough, dude, but try to stay awake.
Seattle got those two runs back in a big hurry, with Ben Broussard opening the bottom of the fourth with an infield hit, followed by a double to left field from Kenji Johjima. Jose Lopez came through with an RBI groundout to the left side, advancing Johjima to third. Johjima promptly scored on a Willie Bloomquist single that second baseman Andres Blanco knocked down but could do nothing with. Bloomquist then stole second! No, that wasn’t a misprint. It leaves the team with seven steals in 15 attempts. Not quite the success rate the team is looking for, but then again, it’s only March 16. Had to get that last line in at least once today. By the way, Sexson is due up next inning. Perhaps we’ll get another chance to use it.
Just drew a two-out walk in the fifth inning, his fourth free-pass this spring. Inning ended when Ben Broussard grounded back to the mound.
Arthur Rhodes replaced Batista in the top of the frame, fanned the first two batters he faced, then got Alex Gonzalez on a weak chopper in front of the plate that Johjima made a strong throw to first on. That’s one hit allowed in five innings of work by the southpaw reliever this spring. In case there was any doubt, non-roster status or not, Rhodes has made this team.
Batista finished the day with: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K



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